THINKING ABOUT RACE (June 2011) – Building an anti-racist identity
Many religious organizations have begun building “an anti-racist identity.” Are Friends ready to take this on in earnest? Here is one story – it is from Pax Christi USA (PCUSA). In 1992 PCUSA surveyed its membership and found that it was 97% white. This did not reflect the membership of the Catholic Church in the U.S., and certainly not U.S. demographics. Around the same time, one of PCUSA’s leaders had a conversation with a person of color that had a profound effect on him. This person asked, “How come you White peace people will go all the way to South America to work on peace, ignoring violent neighborhoods in your own communities?” The survey and this comment moved the PCUSA leader to question why anti-racism was not a part of the peace and justice agenda. By 1998, Pax Christi USA had created Brothers and Sisters All, a 20-year initiative “to transform itself into an anti-racist, multicultural peace and justice movement.” Their vision statement concludes: “We have chosen this identity in order to confront the persistent, destructive personal and systemic racism that perpetuate violence in our communities and result in deep spiritual and social brokenness. We are confident that a spirituality of nonviolent anti-racism makes our transformative vision a reality.”
The Baltimore Yearly Meeting Working Group on Racism meets most months on the third Saturday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, at Bethesda Friends Meeting or Friends Meeting of Washington. If you would like to attend, on a regular or a drop-in basis, contact clerk Elizabeth DuVerlie at firstname.lastname@example.org.